Distractions are everywhere and they are constant. In order to get the maximum productivity out of your day, you need to block out and put your foot down. Below are 5 tactics for gaining the maximum productivity in your work day.
Close the door – Many managers feel like they have to have an “open door” policy in order for employees to feel they are approachable. However, you need uninterrupted time every day. Come up with a signal (closed door, sign hung on a desk, red light) so that all employees know you are unavailable to talk with them during that time. It is even better if you can work from home during a project that needs your complete and undivided attention.
The phone is your biggest enemy – When the phone rings, people feel obligated to answer it. The only person who should stop everything to answer a call is a receptionist. For all others, constantly stopping your project in order to take a call that may, or may not, be more urgent than the current project you are working on is scattering your focus and setting you up for mistakes and ineffeciency. By doing this you are turning over control of your time and productivity to any person who decides to dial your number. By the end of the day you will be exhausted and feel unaccomplished.
If you do not have a receptionist, use caller ID and your voicemail. The caller ID will let you know if any VIP is calling. If not, the voicemail will let you know if you need to postpone the project you are working on in order to handle something more urgent.
Emails and Texts – Email is one of the most useful devices to promote productivity. Yet, many people receive 50, 100, 150+ emails in their inbox every day. Dedicate a time in the morning and a time before the end of your work day to check your emails and respond. Just like the urge to answer the phone every time it rings, the inclination to check and respond to emails throughout the day will keep you scattered and unfocused.
Boundaries need to be set on the allowance of text. The most productive managers completely prohibit texting while other managers specify to text only for an absolute emergency. Decide your own boundaries for receiving work texts but make sure you do not become a slave to your phone.
Set a verbal timer – Ideally you want to preschedule close to 100% of your phone calls each day. Sometimes that is not completely possible. Therefore, be sure that when you make or take an impromptu call, you set a verbal timer at the very beginning of the conversation.